Summary: In the parables, we see the condition or state of those away from God. We observe God’s great love and anxiety for sinners. We get a glimpse of heaven scene upon the restoration of a soul.
Introduction: Great crowds of outsiders came to listen to Christ. These were men and women who through their family associations, their occupations, their social status, or their life styles were looked down upon with immense contempt by the more rigid and sanctimonious Scribes and Pharisees. Having been scorned by the religious crowd as hopelessly lost, these outsiders found that while Christ’s teaching never excused or made allowance for their sin in any form, His message intensely empathetic and loving was full of hope for the hopeless. The religious teachers of Israel were indignant and enraged at Christ’s acceptance and apparent preference for these "sinners". In answer to their grumbling and moaning Christ presents three parables as vindication of His actions. The three parables demonstrate a number of truths that we should all take note of. In these parables, we see the condition or state of those away from God. We observe God’s great love and anxiety for sinners. We get a glimpse of heaven scene upon the restoration of a soul.
I. The Parable of the Lost Sheep (verses 4-7)
A. The sheep was lost - apollumi - to perish, destroy, to lose, to be cut off.
B. The sheep was lost in the wilderness, with no protection, in danger(vs. 4)
1. While the wilderness might hold out enticements of greener pastures or lush vegetation, but a wilderness is a dangerous place, unlike a fenced pasture. There are many uncertainties in the wilderness. There is no security, only danger.
2. The wilderness is a picture of the world, with its allurements and dangers. Just as the wilderness held fascination to an aimless and straying sheep with its superficially greener pastures, the world allures the sinner with the excitement and pleasures
3. Every temptation that comes to us is packaged as a good.
4. Tacitus - Things forbidden have a secret charm.
5. As the wandering sheep does not realize its situation and continues on until it is caught either in the deep ravines and crevices among the jagged rocks or in the in the thick underbrush and pricking thorns which will eventually suck its very life out, so man wanders in the wilderness of sin oblivious to the peril and ultimate destruction that will befall him.
6. Isaiah 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
7. Most of us are familiar with the old story of how to boil a frog. You don’t put him in a pot of boiling water. You drop him in the boiling water and he’ll jump out before he’s injured. So you put him in a pot of cold water, and he’s perfectly comfortable. Then you put him on the stove, and little by little the water gets warm. It’s very pleasant at first. Then it gets to Jacuzzi level, and he begins to be a little alarmed. Finally, when it’s boiling, it’s too late. So often we are like that frog. We get enticed by the world and it’s oh so pleasant at first. And then it gets a little warmer and it’s pleasanter yet. And then one day we realize the danger: But it is too late.